On April 29, 2013 - President Barack Obama reiterated his strong support for science and technology in this speech to members of the National Academy of Sciences at its 150th annual meeting. Science, technology, engineering, and medicine are critical to the nation's prosperity, Obama said, noting that investments made today are bound to pay off for many years to come.
The president warned that recent mandatory cuts in federal spending could slow these critical advances in research. "With the pace of technological innovation today, we can't afford to stand still for a year or two years or three years," Obama said. "We’ve got to seize every opportunity we have to stay ahead, and we can't let other countries win the race for ideas and technology of the future."
Just as science and technology have advanced the nation in the past, he noted, they will be critical in addressing today's challenges. "We will continue to pursue advances in science, engineering, infrastructure, education, and environmental protection, and especially science-based innovations to help us minimize and adapt to global threats like climate change," Obama said.
President Obama made an impassioned plea to ensure that the nation's young people continue to maintain their spirit of discovery and receive strong educations in STEM. "We don't want our kids just to be consumers of the amazing things that science generates," Obama said. "We want them to be producers as well. We've got to make sure we're supporting that next generation of dreamers and risk takers."
Since Abraham Lincoln signed the congressional charter founding the National Academy of Sciences 150 years ago, the Academy has played a critical role in advancing science and shaping public policy. "[Lincoln] recognized that finding a way to harness the highest caliber scientific advice for the government would serve a whole range of long-term goals for the nation," Obama said, noting that his administration turns to the Academy for advice on many issues.
"Like President Lincoln 150 years ago, President Obama clearly understands the importance of S&T to the future prosperity and security of our nation," said NAS President Ralph J. Cicerone in introductory remarks. "We're pleased that President Obama and the administration continue to turn to the National Academy of Sciences for help, analysis, and advice on many issues facing the nation and the world today."
President Obama is the only president to address the National Academy of Sciences' annual gatherings of members twice; he also spoke at the 2009 NAS annual meeting. Other presidents who have addressed the NAS include George H.W. Bush in 1990, John F. Kennedy, who spoke at the NAS Centennial Convocation in 1963 and at the NAS annual meeting in 1961, Jimmy Carter in 1979, and Calvin Coolidge in 1924.
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit institution that was established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It recognizes achievement in science by election to membership, and -- with the National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council -- provides science, technology, and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.
On April 29, 2013, President Barack Obama addressed the annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences on the occasion of the NAS 150th anniversary.
The Academy was established in 1863 through a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln. It is a private, nonprofit organization charged with providing independent, objective advice to the U.S. government on matters related to science and technology.
In Session 1 of the workshop, the chairs from the most recent set of decadal surveys in earth science and applications from space (2007), astronomy and astrophysics (2010), planetary science (2011), and solar and space physics (2012) discuss their experience in managing their decadal survey. The former chairs address what they tried to achieve, what would they do differently if they could do it over again, and how their survey impacted their community and the science program.
Moderator: Charles Kennel (Chair, Space Studies Board)
-Daniel Baker (Chair, Heliophysics Decadal Survey; Director, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, UC-Boulder)
-Roger Blandford (Chair, Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey; Pehong and Adele Chen Director, Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, Stanford University)
-Berrien Moore (Co-Chair, Earth Science & Applications from Space Decadal Survey; Dean, College of Atmospheric & Geographic Sciences, The National Weather Center, University of Oklahoma)
-Steve Squyres (Chair, Planetary Science Decadal Survey; Goldwin Smith Professor of Astronomy, Cornell University)
In Session 4, Program Formulation: The Role of Cost Estimation, Technical Evaluation, and Budget Projections in Prioritizing Missions, panelists discussed the Cost Assessment and Technical Evaluation (CATE) process used in some of the decadal surveys, how that process has evolved, and how CATE affects the science program formulation and mission prioritization.
Moderator: Steve Battel (President, Battel Engineering; Member, Workshop Planning Committee)
-David Bearden (General Manager, NASA Programs, The Aerospace Corporation)
-Jay Bookbinder (Astrophysicist, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory)
-Randy Friedl (Deputy Director for Research, Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Associate Director, UCLA Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science & Engineering; Member, Earth Science and Applications from Space Decadal Survey)
-Scott Hubbard (Professor, Aeronautics and Astronautics, Stanford University; Member, Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science)
-Harlan Spence (Director, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space, University of New Hampshire; Member, Heliophysics Decadal Survey)
In Session 3, Decadal Survey Program Formulation: Lessons Learned and Opportunities for Improvement, panelists discussed how the science programs were formulated and how missions were selected for each of the decadal surveys. One topic that was not discussed at length is the Cost Assessment and Technical Evaluation (CATE) which is the focus of the session following this one.
Moderator: Alan Dressler (Observational Astronomer, Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science; Member, Space Studies Board; Co-Chair, Workshop Planning Committee)
-Rick Anthes (President Emeritus, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research; Co-Chair, Earth Science and Applications from Space Decadal Survey)
-Colleen Hartman (Deputy Center Director for Science, Operations and Program Performance, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)
-Todd Hoeksema (Senior Research Scientist, W.W. Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory, Stanford University; Member, Heliophysics Decadal Survey)
-Steve Mackwell (Director, Lunar and Planetary Institute; Member, Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Sciences)
-Marcia Rieke (Regents’ Professor of Astronomy, University of Arizona; Member, Space Studies Board; Member, Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics)